The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in Arlington was cancelled just days before the event when city officials denied the organizers a permit.
In an interview with CBS DFW, event organizer Winsor Barbee admitted that they “had a shortfall of $60,000 but believed it was all being straightened out.”
Barbee had hopes to have the decision appealed in time for the parade, but with only five days and an unwavering group of city officials, it didn’t work out in favor of the parade.
A shortage of money was not the only reason, though it was the official one. Barbee told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that “several sponsors pulled their funding over the boycott threats,” which had potential to hurt their businesses, leaving her and her fellow organizers with substantially less money.
The boycott threats started after Governor Greg Abbott was chosen as the Honorary Grand Marshal set to lead the parade. Protests began as critics of the governor disliked the idea of a man who is said to have done more harm than good for the civil rights movement.
People, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa stated that “Republican Governor in a meeting with the NAACP, or The National Association for the Advancement of Colored Greg Abbott has done everything he can to hold back the advancement of African Americans and people of color in Texas.”
Abbott passed the Texas Voter ID Law, which violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965, an act passed to prevent racial discrimination in voting. Along with his criticism of former president, Barack Obama, he is not seen as a friend to the African American community.
The decision to cancel the parade was a hard one not just for the city officials and event organizers, but also for the participants who had already put money and time into the creation of their floats.